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A Poem: Lonely From A Caregiver's Perspective

By: Allison Breininger

Lonely Caregiver

Lonely.

On a Tuesday morning

In a Zoom call for work.

My mind partially here

But mostly with him 

At the hospital down the road.

I used to be like my colleagues,

Putting PowerPoints and graphs

In the column of things that are important,

But that was before I was a caregiver.

My columns have changed

That’s abundantly clear 

In this Zoom call for work

On this Tuesday morning.

Lonely.

 

Lonely.

On a Wednesday evening

At a book club with friends.

Everyone said I should get out more

Practice self-care.

But now that I’m here

I just want to leave.

The child in the book ends up dying of cancer

And now an elephant has moved into this room

That everyone works to ignore.

They avoid it for me

And the script that is mine,

The one that I left

To be here.

How can I be sitting

At a book club with friends

On a Wednesday evening

And still feel so very

Very

Lonely?

 

Lonely.

On a Friday night

On our couch

By myself.

Other couples our age are out at the bar

Having date night

Or hanging with friends.

My date has been asleep for hours already

So I sit

By myself

On our couch

On a Friday night.

Lonely.

 

Lonely.

On a Saturday morning

In our front yard.

All the neighbors are out.

Adults raking leaves, 

Kids jumping in piles

None of them realizing how great they have it.

But at our house it’s just me.

My wife is inside,

At our son’s bedside,

Exactly where I’d like to be.

Actually, 

I’d like to be here

In the sun 

With a rake.

But with my son, 

Healthy again, 

Jumping in leaves

That my wife and I raked 

Together,

Realizing exactly how great we have it.

But that’s not our life,

So instead I’ll rake alone

In our front yard

On this Saturday morning.

Lonely.

 

Lonely.

On a Sunday afternoon

At a family gathering.

How can I be in a room full of people

And still feel so alone?

Small talk is hard.

I don’t want to talk about her treatments, her appointments, her upcoming scans.

And at the same time,

Those things are all I know right now,

The things that fill my days, my brain, my heart, my sleepless nights.

I don’t have funny anecdotes from weekend adventures or itineraries of upcoming trips to share.

The only thing I have to talk about is the one thing I don’t want to bring up,

At this family gathering

On a Sunday afternoon,

All of which makes me feel 

really 

really

Lonely.

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